I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to send Nancy Bo Flood some questions. You'll find our conversation below.
Q. Have you spent a lot of time in Monument Valley? Do you have any funny stories from your time there?
Monument Valley is actually a sacred area of the Reservation, it is a part of Navajo Tribal lands kept as a monument open to visitors. The sandstone buttes, chimneys, and spires are truly stunning. Every time I do visit the area it looks different depending on the time of year, weather, time of day, etc. Monument Valley is about a 2-hour drive from where I live at Chinle, next to Canyon deChelly.
Q. How did it feel when you first saw the photos Tony Kuyper had taken for your book?
I had seen Tony’s photographs the first time my husband and I visited his studio at his home at Inscription House near Shonto, Arizona. Tony is a pharmacist working at one of the Indian Health sites, an excellent pharmacist who works as precisely with medications as he does with a camera. I was in awe. Tony works hours and hours to capture the right focus, the right light, the right contrast. Tony invites anyone intereted along on his photo expeditions and each time I would see the landscape in a new way. Over several years he took more photographs and I revised more drafts. Eventually we found the storyline that brought the two together.
Q. The picture book is an incredible mix of poetry and information. Did you intend to have that combination of form and information early on or did it come out through the writing?
Thank you. My goal was to create story through images and words. The idea of rock changing needed to be understandable to a young reader as well as meaningful. Finally I found the connection. Then it took many tries to weave information into story without diminishing either aspect. It is exciting to understand something. Information is fun. I wanted the words to sing with that excitement.
Q. What's your typical writing day like?
I teach so even though I try to have a routine, it seldom works, routine falls apart as students’ papers need reviewing, lectures and projects need preparing, and the dishes need washing. But I try each morning to ‘clear my desk and computer of the business aspects of writing and publishing,” go for a long walk in the desert with my dog (thinking or writing in my head as I walk), and then once I return home, ignore the rest of life and write. For several hours if possible. In the afternoon when my brain is tired, I walk again, then work on teaching projects. Of course there is always supper to fix, cookies to bake, oh, yes, books to read.
Q. Many of your books seem to have an international emphasis or pay attention to the myths and legends of various cultures.
Yes, I think they hold for us universal truths.
Q. Do you travel often?
I love to travel, if possible to work wherever I travel. To learn from the people.
Q. Are you interested in folklore?
Two favorite quotes: “There is more truth in legend… than in truth.”
“To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.” Blake